Home » RISA Directorates » Funding » Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) - Small Grants 2017
Opening Date: 
Wednesday, 29 March, 2017
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, 7 June, 2017

The primary focus of the Programme is to generate, mobilize, co-ordinate and make accessible foundational biodiversity knowledge in line with the needs of society, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) Global Change Programme and the bio-economy. The priority knowledge needs relate to species occurrence, species identity, population abundance, and DNA information, particularly barcoding. This type of information is often referred to as “fundamental” or “foundational” because it forms the basis of so many other aspects of biodiversity research and decision-making. More details of the programme and call are provided in the Programme Framework document.

NOTE: 2017/18 marks the start of a new three year cycle for the Global Change programme, and the award of grants will be subject to the new DST/NRF funding agreement being finalized.

Proposals for small, strategic projects that address critical gaps relevant to foundational biodiversity information and knowledge are invited.

The following eligibility criteria are applicable for projects:

  • Only researchers at NRF recognized research institutions in South Africa are eligible to apply as the principal investigator. Post-doctoral fellows and students are NOT eligible to apply. A detailed description of applicant eligibility can be found in the Programme Framework document.
  • Applications must be submitted on the NRF Online Submission System at http://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za.
  • Team members may also include a co-investigator(s) and research associates / collaborators as specified in the Programme Framework document.
  • Projects must identify specific users of the knowledge generated / information co-ordinated and must indicate how the data will be made accessible.
  • Projects must explicitly align with and contribute to the implementation of one of the following national strategies: The Bioeconomy Strategy of the Department of Science and Technology (2013); Biodiversity Economy Strategy (Bes) for the Department of Environmental Affairs (2015); or South Africa’s 2nd National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) 2015-2025.
  • Proposals must indicate how the project will impact on understanding and mitigation of global change and / or the bio-economy.
  • The data generated or mobilized through the grant must be provided to the FBIP / SANBI in the required format at the end of the project. This is to ensure that the data can be archived, integrated and made accessible for a range of applications and products. 
  • Successful applicants must sign the Conditions of Grant (CoG) agreement as specified in the attachments to the award letter.
  • Data must be made available no later than 18 months after the date of signing the Conditions of Grant for small grants.
  • Grantholders who have not submitted data within the specified timeframes from previous grants will not be eligible to receive further funding from the FBIP until the data have been submitted.

    Projects must: 
  • generate or mobilize primary biodiversity data sets (species occurrence or specimen data)  and / or
  • contribute to the compilation of species pages for the EoL, and / or
  • produce DNA barcodes for species, and / or
  • resolve taxonomic problems to unlock knowledge critical to other projects or
  • develop or apply innovative approaches to managing or disseminating foundational biodiversity information


  • The FBIP is funded through the DST and is required to report on the outputs from funding allocations. This means that in addition to the standard NRF reports, grantholders will be expected to provide details of outputs, and email project progress updates to the FBIP management team.
  • It is critical for the continuation of the FBIP that grant recipients deliver the outputs specified in their proposals and that this is done within the proposed timeframes.
  • Potential applicants are therefore advised to carefully consider the outputs and the timeframes for their project, and to be as accurate as possible in their proposal.

Funding details and call activities

Small grants award a maximum of R200,000 per grant for a one year period.

The key activities and timelines are outlined below:

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS OPENS:                            29 MARCH 2017

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS CLOSES:                           07 JUNE 2017

Contact Person:
Lita Pauw
Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme Co-ordinator
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Tel: +27 12 843 5113
Email: L.Pauw@sanbi.org.za

All applications must be endorsed by the research office of the principal applicant. Institutions must set their own internal closing date for DAs to validate applications by the closing date.

All endorsed applications must be submitted electronically via the NRF Online Submission System at https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za